Insecurity not only causes you constant stress, but if left unchecked, it can ruin a relationship.
Trust issues, nagging doubts, or excessive jealousy can take hold and drive a wedge between you and your partner.
But how do you stop insecurities in your relationship?
This article will show you how.
How to stop being insecure about your girlfriend
1) Identify your main triggers
In order to fix insecurity in your relationship you have to start not with the question of how, but instead, the question of why.
Why do I feel so insecure in my relationship?
Answering this is the first step to banishing insecurity.
It’s going to require some self-reflection and digging deeper to find the root cause. Because insecurity is a symptom of something else that’s going on.
Start by figuring out and naming exactly how you are feeling. What triggers your insecurity? How does it show up?
Is there something your girlfriend says or does? Is it something about the way you feel about yourself? Is it something that happened in your past?
Are there certain things that make these feelings worse? For example, going on social media or when you are alone and overthinking.
Try to get to grips with what is going on below the surface. This is going to help you better tackle the problem.
2) Discuss your needs and wants with your girlfriend
We all have needs and wants in a relationship.
Your needs and wants are unique to you, so it’s vital that couples talk with each other about them. Because whilst some of your needs and wants may be the same, others may not be.
We can inadvertently either do things that upset our partners or have unfair expectations of them when we don’t know each other’s needs and wants.
In order to talk about them, you obviously have to understand your own needs and wants from a relationship first.
Your needs are your dealbreakers and non-negotiables. On the other hand, your wants are simply your preferences. As psychologist Eva Rüger explains:
“A need is something that is required to make a relationship work in the long term, while a want is something we’d like to see or get from our partner, and it doesn’t necessarily need to be fulfilled in order to have a successful relationship”.
Sharing your needs and wants with one another, along with the next couple of points on our list, is what will help you to build better trust.
3) Improve communication in your relationship
Discussing your needs and wants with your partner is one example of improving communication in your relationship.
Healthy communication is the life force of all strong relationships, and strengthening it can help you to reduce insecurities in your relationship.
Being able to talk to one another helps you better understand each other, and reduce the chance of misunderstandings too.
Don’t be tempted to try and sidestep tricky conversations.
Being a couple means being a team. Your teammate (aka your girlfriend) needs to know how you feel.
That means discussing as a couple the insecurity problems you are facing. Listen to one another. Explain how you feel, and ask her how she feels.
Good communication is just as much about having good listening skills as it is about talking skills.
Avoid blaming your girlfriend for how you are feeling, and instead, take responsibility for your own feelings. This will help you to have more open conversations rather than getting defensive.
4) Have clear relationship boundaries
Another really important element to feeling safe and secure in a relationship comes down to boundaries.
Discussing what you need and want from one another and having honest chats with each other is going to really help make your boundaries clearer.
As highlighted in Psych Central, some healthy boundaries in a relationship might include:
- taking one another’s feelings into account
- showing gratitude
- being honest
- allowing space for autonomy and avoiding codependence
- showing respect for differences in opinion, perspective, and feelings
- taking responsibility for your actions
But as a professor of sociology and intimacy at The Open University, Dr. Jacqui Gabb, explains setting boundaries should never be a tool for manipulation:
“We shouldn’t confuse boundaries and control —– they’re not the same thing. If someone feels a partner is putting up boundaries in a controlling way — ‘These are my boundaries, and this is what you must do’ — then there’s a problem with communication around boundaries being established.”
5) Work on your self-esteem
Whenever we feel insecure we might desperately try to control external forces or circumstances in the misguided belief that this will make us feel better.
But really, the insecurity often comes from within.
If your girlfriend hasn’t done or said anything to give you a reason to feel insecure, then self-esteem issues might be at the heart of things.
When we don’t feel good about ourselves, we’re more likely to worry in our romantic relationship.
Low self-esteem is a really common offender when it comes to relationship anxiety.
So focus on ways to build your own self-esteem. Things that can help include:
- Being mindful of your self-talk
- Uncovering and confronting negative beliefs you have about yourself
- Writing a list of all your positive qualities
- Being kinder to yourself and practicing self-compassion
6) Dig deeper into your relationship expectations
There’s a common trap that most of us fall into in relationships, and that’s having unrealistic expectations.
We all want love, but there is a cultural misconception that the love of someone else (in the form of a romantic relationship) is the magic solution to everything. But sadly, it’s not.
The real danger comes when we inadvertently then end up expecting too much from our relationships and our partner.
The real secret to having healthy and happy relationships lies in the relationship we have with ourselves.
It’s a message taught by world-renowned shaman Rudá Iandê who explains how all successful relationships start with self-empowerment.
In his free video, he reveals the 3 key ingredients to experiencing fulfilling relationships. I think you’ll be surprised by what he has to say, as it’s not the myth we’re commonly led to believe.
So I’d really recommend checking out his free short video.
7) Remember why you’re together
One of the problems of insecurity is that it prompts us to focus on the worst-case scenarios.
Your mind can get flooded with so much negativity that it shifts the entire framework of your relationship. That’s why it’s important to try and shift it back and focus on the positive again.
Whilst we can’t always banish negative thoughts, we can do certain things to help minimize their impact. And actively trying to look for the good is one of those things.
- What are your biggest strengths as a couple?
- What attracted you to one another in the first place?
- What do you most like about one another?
It’s not about trying to ignore any problems that you may have. All couples face some challenges. But it’s about making sure you don’t feed your insecurity more through negative thinking.
Which leads us nicely to the next point.
8) Question negative thoughts and stories
As well as actively trying to remind yourself of the good things in your relationship, you want to buffer yourself from the negative thoughts that might plague you.
We’ve already talked about the fact that trying to stop a thought is pretty much impossible. If it were as easy as telling yourself to stop feeling insecure, you would have already done that by now.
Even though you might not be able to stop a negative thought that makes you feel insecure from coming into your head, you can question it.
Rather than accepting it as truth, instead, you take a more critical approach.
- Is this a fact, or is it just a thought?
- What evidence can I find that this thought is not true?
- How does this thought make me feel? And what is a better thought?
It’s important to question negative thoughts and stories rather than letting them grow and take over.
9) Notice where you’re projecting past experiences onto your girlfriend
Love is a dangerous game, and most of us carry around a certain amount of baggage.
Maybe it’s being cheated on, or a bad rejection. But previous bad experiences in love and romance can make us hyper-vigilant.
As family therapist Jessie Leader explains:
“When a previous partner did something that your body perceived as a threat to security, your body will often have an emotional reaction, which is known as a trauma response,”
It’s important to reflect on where you may be carrying past hurt into your current relationship.
Are your insecurities a reflection of unresolved feelings about something else that happened in your past?
Letting go isn’t always easy, but it can be done. And it starts with being aware of how your past impacts your present.
10) Combat overthinking by becoming more present
Just like telling yourself to only think happy thoughts is an unrealistic oversimplification, so too is telling yourself to stop overthinking.
As an overthinker myself, I’m all too aware of that.
Instead, you need practical tools that can help you curb overthinking which may be making your insecurities worse.
Mindfulness is a really useful and scientifically backed way of helping you stay aware — rather than getting lost in overthinking, obsessive thoughts, and rumination.
Some things to try when you find yourself falling into overthinking are saying “STOP” out loud to yourself, and wearing a rubber band around your wrist to lightly twang on as a physical cue to stop.
It can also be a good idea to find healthy outlets to let off steam or any built-up anxiety that you feel — whether that is through exercise, creative pursuits, journaling, or talking to someone.
11) Practice independence
Relationships are pretty easy to lose ourselves in.
They’re exciting, fun and fill us with all sorts of feel-good hormones. So much so, that it can start to feel like an addiction.
But we can get so wrapped up in someone else that we lose sight of our own independence.
Autonomy and space are essential parts of a healthy relationship. It’s a bit like a flame. It will go out unless you give it air to breathe. Stifling a partner has the same effect.
Giving your girlfriend enough space (and vice versa) helps you maintain individuality and it’s where you grow in confidence by practicing your trust for one another.
Relationship psychologist John Aiken says:
“Couples need space in a relationship so they don’t suffocate each other. Having time apart is extremely healthy and keeps freshness in their relationship. It encourages each person to maintain their own sense of identity while still being a couple, and it fosters independence and strength rather than neediness and clinginess.”
The more confident you feel as an individual — with your own friends, hobbies, and interests — the less needy and insecure you are likely to feel in your relationship.
12) Talk to someone about how you feel
They say a problem shared is a problem halved, and talking really has been shown to help.
I touched upon earlier how talking to someone can be a good stress buster when you’re feeling insecure.
As highlighted in Psychology Today:
“Studies have shown that simply talking about our problems and sharing our negative emotions with someone we trust can be profoundly healing—reducing stress, strengthening our immune system, and reducing physical and emotional distress”.
Experts say that keeping things bottled up is stressful for us. But giving those feelings a voice by talking about them (or even writing them down in a journal) releases us from the burden, and in doing so even improves our health.
Talking about your insecurity might not be a magic fix, but it can help to stop you from getting carried away by negative emotions. And it can also help you to become more mindful of your insecurity.
As well as talking to your girlfriend, you might want to confide in friends, family, or even a professional (therapist or relationship coach).